Employees and emails are a leading cause of data breaches for small businesses because they are a direct path into your systems. Training employees on basic internet best practices can go a long way in preventing cyber attacks. Some training topics could include spotting a phishing email, using good browsing practices, avoiding suspicious downloads, creating strong passwords and protecting sensitive customer and vendor information.
Below are important tips for keeping your business safe from cybersecurity threats:
Use antivirus software and keep it updated
Make sure each of your business’s computers is equipped with antivirus software and anti-spyware and the software is updated regularly. Such software is readily available online from a variety of vendors. All software vendors regularly provide patches and updates to their products to correct security problems and improve functionality. Configure all software to install updates automatically.
Secure your networks
Safeguard your Internet connection by using a firewall and encrypting information. If you have a Wi-Fi network, make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name. Password protect access to the router.
Use strong passwords
Using strong passwords is an easy way to improve your cybersecurity. Be sure to use different passwords for your different accounts. A strong password includes 10 characters or more, at least one uppercase letter, at least one lowercase letter, at least one number and at least one special character.
Multifactor authentication requires additional information, like a security code sent to your phone, to log in. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multifactor authentication for your account.
Back up your data
Regularly back up the critical data on all computers, including word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Back up data automatically if possible, or at least weekly, and store the copies either offsite or on the cloud.
Secure payment processing
Work with your bank or card processors to ensure the most trusted, validated anti-fraud services are being used. You may also have additional security obligations related to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs. Do not use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet.
Control physical access
Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.
For more tips on keeping your business safe from cybersecurity threats, visit the Stop.Think.Connect website.
Cindy is a Senior Vice President / Operations Director for Heartland Bank. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Outside of the bank, Cindy enjoys spending time with her family and going to garage sales and flea markets.
Due to recently increased security requirements, we at Heartland Bank are no longer able to support version 10 or older of Internet Explorer. We are sorry for this inconvenience, and encourage you to upgrade to more secure options such as Internet Explorer 11, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox.